by Ann Arnold
So I arrived in Las Vegas this morning to attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). What was I expecting? Well, I have been coming here for almost 25 years to the jewelry shows, so how different could this be? Well if we thought it was busy during jewelry week, you have no idea what busy means!
The show takes place in several locations, so I started today at the Sands Convention Center. I was greeted by the new security procedures that were put in place – all bags are searched and no roller bags allowed. Then, as I continued down the hall, I was herded and yelled out to stay to the left and keep moving. Wow, what an introduction. But then I entered Hall C. It is amazing how different this hall looks when it is not a bunch of jewelry booths. I was greeted by such innovative, and grand showcases. Talk about overwhelming. This must be what someone coming to a jewelry show feels like for the first time.
The section that I am concentrating on is produced by Living in Digital Times and houses many of the fitness, digital health and wearable tech companies that I wanted to check out. My adventure started with a cup of cappuccino, of course. But this was not ordinary cup of coffee. They first took my picture, and then a 3-D printer printed a picture of my face in the foam – HOW COOL!
There is virtually everything here! From Robotic looking toys, to smart rubber duckies, how I ever raised a child without all these gadgets amazes me.
I did find, however, a few interesting jewelry companies amongst all the wearable fitness gadgets, digital pianos and fitbits of the world. Here is a recap of a few that stuck out at me.
GlamFit is actually a jewelry company. You may have heard of Liberty I Exchange – a fine jewelry line of bullion coins. They introduced some of their smart jewelry last year at the JCK show and will be there again this year. What struck me about this line is how much it actually looked like jewelry. So much of the “smart jewelry” out there all looks the same with basically non-existent design style. GlamFit has combined style with fitness. As all devices do, you download their app and then sync the device to your phone. You can track your activity, as well as your sleep. GlamFit uses Sterling Silver and combines it with genuine gem stones. This keystone line has a MSRP ranging from $120-$400. (firstname.lastname@example.org ; www.glamfitjewelry.com)
The collection consists of a host of pendants and bracelets.
This Black Onyx bracelet retails for $300.
This starter set consists of a rubber bracelet that starts at $60, and then charms that can be added. Charms range from $20-$60.This starter set consists of a rubber bracelet that starts at $60, and then charms that can be added. Charms range from $20-$60.
As you can imagine, there are so many “watches” here. I have to say, they all start looking the same. A few however, did stand out. I first checked out the Fossil showcase, how could I not. Their watches are activity trackers with interchangeable bands. They also had LED lights that you could customize the light colors, so that you can be notified when a call comes in. So if you are busy, and set your husband to green, you will see that he has called when the green light flashes. These watches have an MSRP between $175-$195. They even have a digital, touch screen version. All these watches sit on the pads you see. These are actually the charger for the phone!
Another watch that caught my attention was MyKronoz. This Swiss watch company currently distributes their watches in over 40 countries and are now coming to the US. Besides the basic models, which quite honestly looked like all the others I saw, they also have a “Premier” collection. This style combines leather straps and Swarovski crystals, making a fashionable smart watch. You can not only tell time and track your activity, but also receive notifications, and on some models even make calls.
The basic band on the left starts at $59 MSRP (looks like all that we see everywhere), but then they added a leather strap – the one in the middle which retails at $79, and then if you want to add the crystals the MSRP goes to $99. These all have removable straps as well.
If you want the more of a “watch” look you can go for the ZWatch, which does not have removable straps.
These have a retail up to $199.
How do these fit into your store? This entire category – wearables – open up a whole new customer for you. The disposable income and discretionary dollars that are being spent at Best Buy, or on Amazon, could be redirected to your store. This gives you not only a way to capture new customers, but also a way to differentiate yourself in your market. Looking at the price points above, your typical watch buyer may get a nice new “toy”, and your non watch buyers may start looking at you differently. These price points allow impulse purchases for your regular customers, and allow you to offer something different. As I was talking to some of the companies, they were mentioning that stores like Verizon are starting to approach them to carry jewelry in their markets. Are we going to allow all these outside industries take a piece of what we do? Let’s embrace this for ourselves and take back some market share in the new crossover industry called wearable technology!